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The Amiga was a family of personal computers sold by Commodore in the 1980s and 1990s. The first model was launched in 1985 as a high-end home computer and became popular for its impressive graphical, audio and multi-tasking abilities. The Amiga provided a significant upgrade from 8-bit computers, such as the Commodore 64, and the platform quickly grew in popularity among computer enthusiasts. The best selling model, the Amiga 500, was introduced in 1987 and became the leading home computer of the late 1980s and early 1990s in much of Western Europe. In North America success was more modest. The Amiga went on to sell approximately six million units.[1] Second generation Amiga systems (A1200 and A4000) were released in 1992. However, poor marketing and failure to repeat the technological advances of the first systems meant that the Amiga quickly lost its market share to competing platforms, such as the fourth generation game consoles and IBM PC compatibles.

Based on the Motorola 68000 series of microprocessors, the machine sports a custom chipset with graphics and sound capabilities that were unprecedented for the price, and a pre-emptive multitasking operating system (now known as AmigaOS).

The Amiga was particularly popular for gaming and demoscene activities. It also found a prominent role in the desktop video, video production, and show control business, leading to affordable video editing systems such as the Video Toaster. It was also a less expensive alternative to the Apple Macintosh and IBM-PC as a general-purpose business or home computer. The Amiga's native ability to play back several channels of digital samples made it a popular platform for early "tracker" music software, and the machine's relatively powerful processor and ability to access several megabytes of memory led to the development of several 3D rendering packages, including LightWave 3D and Aladdin 4D. The Amiga was most commercially successful as a home computer, with a wide range of games and creative software, although early Commodore advertisements attempted to cast the computer as an all-purpose business machine.[2][3]

Since the demise of Commodore, various groups have marketed successors to the original Amiga line. Eyetech sold PowerPC based hardware under the AmigaOne brand from 2002 to 2005. A-Cube sell the Amiga compatible Sam440 PowerPC board with the AmigaOS 4.1.

The name Amiga was chosen by the developers specifically from the Spanish word for a female friend,[4] and because it occurred before Apple and Atari alphabetically. It also gave the message that the Amiga computer line was 'user friendly' as a sort of pun or play on words.[5]

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